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Recommendation: Tips To Combat a Needle Phobia
  Added by: Strype   
No specific recommendation. I am a terrible needle phobe. I'd just like to share some things that work for me. My phlebotomies, blood tests, etc are now at least managable. My 2 cents...

1) Ativan.
It keeps me from having a panic attack.

2) EMLA cream
This is a cream that your Hemotologist or family Dr. can prescribe. You put it on the site where you will be stuck an hour ahead of time and cover it with a bandage. It numbs the area.

3) Tensing up
Do not tense up! It makes the pain much worse.

4) Lay down
The lab technician or phlebotomist can find an empty bed for you. It keeps you from fainting.
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Reply #1 - 03/03/09  4:48pm
" I would recommend Oxygen also and I also get a shot of lidocaine which is a very small needle,but takes the pain of the big needle away totally. "
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Reply #2 - 03/11/09  7:27am
" Not sure that I would personally use a benzodiazepine just to have my blood taken, but that's just me!

Totally agree with points 3 and 4 though. Tensing and moving your hand/arm also make the veins in your arm wiggle slightly which can cause further pain.

I would also like to add that you should concentrate on your breathing. Try and focus yourself away from the room - I always say that I am putting myself 'somewhere else' "
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Reply #3 - 04/21/09  4:33pm
" Update...

#2 Emla cream-

DON'T DO IT!!! It made my veins hide and the phlebotomist had to dig and dig!!!

Ativan works great :-D "
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Reply #4 - 06/12/09  1:01am
" The advice about keeping the arm still: My phlebotomist had me constantly make a fist then release the fist througout the whoe 30 minutes of the procedure. He said it was necessary and common. For me, that is not keeping my arm still as it of course tenses many arm muscles whilst flexing.
GageL "
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Reply #5 - 06/23/09  2:21pm
" Another tip...

If the phlebotomist is holding the needle in the whole time that is why it is hurting. I found out about 3 months into it that if they just tape it off I can't even feel it. "
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Reply #6 - 06/24/09  8:03am
" My Phlebotomist has a small computer that tells him how fast the blood is draining, I can adjust the flow by squeezing a soft ball or not. I have found that if we keep the flow at a certain level than I feel better throughout the rest of the day. It took us a while to find the right speed but when we did it made a big difference. "
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Reply #7 - 11/24/09  12:40pm
" I wanted to add a little bit just in case anyone with my phobia comes along...

I avoided going to the doctor for years. I actually burned myself badly on a motorcycle and never went to the doctor. I would pass out no matter what when I was stuck.

On my 3rd or 4th phlebotomy I passed out and my blood pressure dropped to 80/60. When I had my liver biopsy it took the doctor, anestesia lady, charge nurse, and 2 other nurses in the room to get my IV started. When I say I was a needle phobe, I do mean it.

Now through repetition I am 100 times better. I actually went and got a tattoo a couple of months ago. I still see old friends and they look at the tattoo puzzeled because everyone knows how bad I was with needles.

So if you are reading this hang in there. It used to tick me off that people said, "It's all in your head". Guess what? It really is. "
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Reply #8 - 11/24/09  8:55pm
" Just found this site today. Honestly, I'm getting tense just reading these. Here is what I have:

1) 18 gauge needle (feels wonderful compared to the 16 gauge they used for the first 4 months). Trust me this makes a difference.
2) They use a vacuum bottle to collect the blood. I am done in 5-7 minutes. The longest I have had was 20 minutes and that started causing me some tension. "
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Reply #9 - 12/23/09  1:04am
" Awesome! Keep them coming! "
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Reply #10 - 01/25/10  3:02am
" And once more... I always thought that if I'd ever become diabetic I'd die. I would take a weeks worth of antibiotics instead of getting a shot in the butt. I would watch tv or a movie and it never failed: A needle was inserted into someone. I have walked out of more movies and tv shows than I can count. I had to leave class once in college because of a blood donation going on in the entrance. I HATED HATED HATED for people to tell me, "Ooooh that's all in your head!" and laugh. I hated being patronized. My wife is a nurse so let me tell you I that I know how bad it is... Ladies and Gents, it is in your head. And once you understand that the world will be totally different for you.

It's not the end of the world, it is the beginning of a new life. Your life. And if I sound dramatic then you don't need this pep talk.

If you are scared to absolute DEATH of needles as I once was, please do yourself a favor and listen to what I have to say... If I reach one person then all of this drama was worth it...

Get over it. Man up. Your brain is an amazing device. You CAN DO IT.

Like I said, if I can help one person that is the boat I used to be the Captain of, then it is worth it. Be strong. You have to. "

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